No. of Recommendations: 272

A few points of reference.

I am southern. Born and raised in the state of North Carolina. Spent summers picking beans down on my grandfather's farm. I've lived through the devastation of several hurricanes.

My wife is from south Florida, and her family was deeply impacted by Hurricane Andrew.

I live in the south NOW. On this point, you're simply wrong.

I've given money, we've looked into ways of taking people in to our house in Virginia. I've watched the death and destruction, and I've cried for people. Yesterday the family of one of my colleagues was here in the office -- they're displaced from New Orleans and don't know what they're going to be going back to, or when they'll be allowed to return.

Coming from North Carolina, I've seen more than enough hurricane damage to last a lifetime. At this moment, I'm sorta wondering whether our family's property in Pawley's Island, South Carolina looks like -- whether it has managed to weather Ohpelia, just as it has Isabel, Dennis, Hugo, Jeanne, David, and a score of others.

I understand you are hurt, but you're also wrong. You have no reason nor standing to lash out at me. And for you to call me a racist is simple unacceptable. I won't stand for it. (A hint: my wife and children are of a different racial background than I. Yes, in my home state, I'm a miscegnator.)

Had you limited your blinding rage just a little, you might have noticed this line in the article:

"Let us be clear about this: Failure to pay legitimate claims is unconscionable. We agree with the spirit of contra preferentum, and as consumers we are hopeful that the state insurance commissions take an extraordinarily hard stance on companies that try to avoid claims. Solvency issues are no excuse.

Contract law is what I was talking about, and it isn't built on "heart," "soul," or "kindness." The law is the application of a set of rules, absent of passion. Period.

And for states to try to do an end around on the contract law is simply intolerable. Insurance companies shouldn't have to pay for that which was specifically excluded from their policies by contract law. This is simple.

If you disagree on this point, fine. What WILL happen then is that insurance rates --- MOSTLY IN THE SOUTH -- are going to skyrocket. What's worse, you should look into what happened when the State of New Jersey tried to force GEICO to limit the rates it charged certain classes of drivers.

GEICO abandoned the state. Wouldn't write a single policy more It left those damn Yankees to get their insurance someplace else. Insurance companies will abandon Mississippi. I'm just telling you that's what WILL happen if they cannot reasonably determine their risk to provide coverage.

Insurance companies can do better. But you know what? They're also pretty overwhelmed at the moment. They don't simply keep a number of customer service reps on hand to handle the volume caused by something like this. If the insurers start denying legitimate claims, you may rest assured that we'll be screaming about it.

I don't think Southerners are stupid. But I won't accept your invitation to bite you, either.

Bill Mann
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